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Computational Modeling of Immune Cell Chemotaxis and Swarming


 Using computational simulation to form and evaluate hypotheses concerning the factors that drive immune cell motility, such as neutrophil swarming, during inflammation.


Dr Mark Read.

Research location

School of Life and Environmental Sciences

Program type



Soluble chemical signals are fundamental drivers of cell motility in the body. Their effects on cells are complex, and cells must consolidate potentially conflicting signals from a variety of sources to make decisions about their movements. Certain immune cells, such as neutrophils, exhibit strikingly coordinated swarming behaviour (see link to video below), yet the dynamics of signalling and cell interactions responsible for these phenomena are not well understood. Computational simulations provide a useful means of testing theories concerning the emergence of cellular swarming. Projects around this topic can make either biological or computational contributions to science (or both). For example: ·       Using simulation to test biological theories of the factors driving cell motility patterns. ·       Exploring alternative computational, mathematical or statistical methodologies and tools to support simulation of the immune system.   (Video:

Additional information

Projects are available at Honours, Masters or PhD levels.   These projects involve integrating data from multi-photon microscopy experiments, in conjunction with Dr. Tatyana Chtanova of the Garvan Institute.
In addition to the academic requirements set out in the Science Postgraduate Handbook, you may be required to satisfy a number of inherent requirements to complete this degree. Example of inherent requirement may include:

  • Confidential disclosure and registration of a disability that may hinder your performance in your degree;
  • Confidential disclosure of a pre-existing or current medical condition that may hinder your performance in your degree (e.g. heart disease, pace-maker, significant immune suppression, diabetes, vertigo, etc.);
  • Ability to perform independently and/or with minimal supervision;
  • Ability to undertake certain physical tasks (e.g. heavy lifting);
  • Ability to undertake observatory, sensory and communication tasks;
  • Ability to spend time at remote sites (e.g. One Tree Island, Narrabri and Camden);
  • Ability to work in confined spaces or at heights;
  • Ability to operate heavy machinery (e.g. farming equipment);
  • Hold or acquire an Australian driver’s licence;
  • Hold a current scuba diving license;
  • Hold a current Working with Children Check;
  • Meet initial and ongoing immunisation requirements (e.g. Q-Fever, Vaccinia virus, Hepatitis, etc.)

You must consult with your nominated supervisor regarding any identified inherent requirements before completing your application.

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Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 1949

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